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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

Friday, July 15, 2016

Two Plead Guilty to Student Loan Fraud Scheme Targeting NVCC

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Ernest Xavier Taylor, Jr., 31, and Tracie Laverne Mixon, 34, both of Hammond, Louisiana, have pleaded guilty to charges relating to unlawfully using the identities of four people to fraudulently obtain federal student loans from Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and other schools.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Taylor Jr. and Mixon engaged in a conspiracy to use the identity of four different people to fraudulently obtain federal student aid from NVCC and other schools. The four different people included three who were in prison at the time their identities were used, and the fourth person was recovering in a military hospital after suffering injuries while deployed as a member of the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. 

Taylor Jr. and Mixon would use the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of these four different people on various submissions, but Taylor Jr. and Mixon would supply their own addresses, emails, and telephone numbers to ensure that communications from the Department of Education, NVCC, and the other schools would be directed to them. For example, recorded telephone calls captured Taylor Jr. pretending to be the four different identities when calling to check on the status of financial aid from NVCC.

Taylor Jr. and Mixon’s fraudulent actions allegedly caused NVCC and other schools to offer approximately $67,000 in federal student aid to the various identities used by Taylor Jr. and Mixon.  In addition to NVCC, the other schools targeted by Taylor Jr. and Mixon are: Front Range Community College; Community College of Denver; Portland Community College; and Black Hills State University.

Taylor Jr. and Mixon each face a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft when sentenced on October 7.  Additionally, Taylor Jr. and Mixon face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy charged in the case.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kathleen Tighe, Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General; and Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian D. Harrison and Edward P. Sullivan are prosecuting the case.  

The case is being investigated by the Department of Education, Office of Inspector General and the FBI.  The investigation received assistance from the Northern Virginia Community College Police Department.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-cr-118.

Identity Theft
Updated July 15, 2016